Translator’s note: The below text is a translation by Tianma of a post of Daoist Master Zhao Ming Wang on his Chinese language blog of Daoist Qianfeng Dual Cultivation of Xing and Ming (道家千峰性命双修的博客 ). In this post Zhao Ming Wang briefly talks about the dual practice of Xing and Ming and further clarifies using a poem, written in the form of a classical Chinese poem, consisting of seven character lines.
In the seventh line of the poem is referred to holding the five in an unhealthy condition. The five refer to the five elemental phases in Chinese Phylosophy and Chinese Medicine: Water, Wood, Fire, Earth and Metal. In normal everyday life fire rises up and water flows down, leading to the loss of jing and qi. In Daoist self-cultivation this natural tendency is transformed, so that fire reaches down. Fire then heats water, which turns into steam and rises up. The heart-mind (Xin心) is associated with the fire elemental phase and the kidneys (shen肾) is associated with the water elemental phase.
In the Daoist Qianfeng school equal importance is given to seated meditation and moving qigong exercises, so harmonizing yin and yang. In seated meditation the mind calms down and the body relaxes. In moving qigong exercises, the body is exercised in conjunction with the breath and the yi (attention). This promotes bodily health and helps to calm down the mind.
The Dual Cultivation of Xing (Nature) and Ming (Life)
Somebody has the aspiration to take up the cultivation of the Great Way (da dao 大道). Already having a sincere attitude towards the practice, but how to practice? This is done through the dual cultivation of Nature (Xing 性) and Life (Ming 命).
Nature also refers to the heart-mind (Xin 心). Constantly perfecting Virtue (De 德), keeping away from worldly affairs.
Life also refers to the kidneys (Shen 肾). In constantly giving in to desires and indulging in the impermanence of everyday life, Essence (Jing 精) and Vital Energy (Qi 气) are scattered and lost (the loss of Essence and Vital Energy will inevitably speed up the aging process and lead to ill health). Know that the practice of Ming instead consolidates and increases our Essence and Vitality.
Already start self-cultivation by simply refraining from empty talk. In this funny world of party and pleasure-seeking, who are the few who can jump out?
Today two Qianfeng disciples meet, one middle aged and one elderly. Out of a mutual deep affinity for the Dao, for several years already they regularly catch up with eachother, exchanging experiences and understanding of this profound Daoist practice.
Cultivating Nature and refining Life, no need for talk,
In three years both are understood.
This accomplishment of returning to the root is priceless,
Some never clealy recognize this.
Cultivating virtue, promoting benevolence and developing ones heart-mind,
Searching the Dao requires genuine and dedicated practice.
Beforehand holding the Five in an unhealthy condition,
Now Essence and Vitality are restored in a healthy body.